love, and if you have taken him for your God, and have submitted to his grace and government, you may safely confide in him, whatever may be your affliction. He knows when to withhold, and when to bestow; and he who gives his people grace and glory, will not withhold any real or necessary good.

* He may visit with afflictions, both uncommon and unexpected; but what can you fear from the hand of infinite love? That gentle hand will not press too sore upon you; it will not afflict you too severely. It way administer medicine for vour health; it may even correct you for your undutifulness; but still it is the hand of a loving Father; and while it chastens for your profit, it at the same time wards off those fiery darts of Satan, which would prove too agonising for your frail spirits, and also heals the painful wounds which sin lias made. Though, therefore, in the despondency of your spirits, you sometimes say that your trials are severe, yet if this God, this faithful unchanging God, is your God, and you his real obedient people, you will sooner or later perceive so much love in these trials, that you would not, for a world, have wanted one ingredient in the bitterest of them. "Why art thou then cast down, O my "soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God; "for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance."' pp. 19—21.

The subjects of the remaining sermons of this volume are, The Trials of Job, and his Consolations under them; Resignation; Trust in God; Self-dedication to God; The living Temple; Heaven prepared for the Righteous; The Everlasting Covenant; The strong Consolation; The Christian Journey; The Ascension of Christ; Christ's Unchangeableness. These several subjects are treated in a truly devotional and practical manner; and that man must be far advanced in faith and in knowledge, who is incapable of deriving from the varied illustrations of this volume, a fuller impression of the Divine loveliness of true religion, and of the happiness essentially connected with its experie'.ce. Our last extracts shall be from the Sermon on the Living Temple. «

'If you beheld a large and stately building rising into view, where formerly there was nothing but rubbish and ruins; if you were informed that this building is highly important and necessary; that it had been planned by much deliberation and wisdom, and that no small expense was laid out in preparing materials for the work; you would naturally conclude, that since it is now begun, and daily advancing, that it will in due time be completed, provided the builder has skill, wisdom, power, and means, sufficient for finishing it. ppl) all this to the subject before us. The infinitely wise God our Saviour, who possesses all power in heaven and earth, has formed the grand design of recovering sinners from their apostacy, and of preparing them for heaven. He has, through the influence of his grace, begun to operate in the hearts of his chosen in the world, so that the outlines of their future perfections already appear: and will he, after all this, withhold such farther degrees of grace, as are necessary to bring this good work to perfection? This would be inconsistent with his compassion and power. He has redeemed his people by his blood, and declares that he will keep what is committed to him; that having begun in them a good work, he will carry it forward to the day of Christ. He has pledged himself, by his engagements to his people in the covenant of grace; and these engagements he will fulfil by his dispensations and ordinances, with the co-operating influences of the Holy Spirit.—He carries his people forward to perfection, by the powerful energy and gracious influences of his Holy Spirit, working them to will and to do of his good pleasure, sealing them to the day of redemption, leading them, into all truth, and sanctifying them more and more, until, by gradual advances in holiness, they are fitted for the enjoyment of heaven. When fully prepared, he releases them from all the incumbrances of mortality, crowns them with immortal glory, and puts on the last stone with shoutings of grace unto it. Then, with increasing and everlasting joy, shall the universal song of triumph ascend to him who loved them, and washed them from their sins in his own blood, and redeemed them to God out of every kindred, and brought them out of great tribulation, and conducted them to the land of uprightness, whence the Lord shall be the Light of the Temple and where the glory of the Lord will lighten it for ever and ever.» pp. 220—224..

We particularly recommend these Discourses to young ministers, as excellent models for their imitation. From them they will learn, that in order to be plain it is not necessary to be low or vulgar, nor to be common place in order to be understood; and that it is quite possible to convey to an ordinary audience, the result of much study, with simplicity, with taste, and with the warmth of the most elevated devotion.

We know that the Reviewer of a book has nothing to do with the life of its Author; nevertheless, it may be allowed us to remark, in concluding this article, that the living ensample of devotion and excellency which the life and conduct of Mr. Bonar have exhibited during the forty years that he has been invested with the sacred office, will considerably enhance the value and effect of these Sermons in the estimation of all who are acquainted with his character. The Church of Scotland will lose one of its ablest ministers and most distinguished ornaments, when this servant of Christ shall be called into the joy of his Lord.


Art. VIII. Memoirs of Lady Hamilton; with Illustrative Anecdotes of many of her most particular Friends and distinguished Contemporaries Second Edition, post 8vo. pp. 35'2. Price 10s. 6d. Colburn, 1815

THK Au'lmr of this work commences it with remarking, that 'The maxim, "nothing should be said of the dead, ** hut what is good," though it has become proverbial by the frequency of repetition, and the benevolence it seems to inculcate, is too often made an excuse for error, and an apology for depravity. But whatever may be the nature or the extent of the rule, it never could have been intended to operate as an act of indemnity, to cover in oblivion the deeds of those who have endeavoured to loosen the foundations of morality by their principles, or to render vice attractive by their example.'

The custom which prevailed among some of the ancients, of decreeing their departed great to undergo a regular trial, and proportioning their funeral honours to the praiseworthy actions of their lives, was more favourable to the excitement of ambition, and the practice of sound morality, than the consideration of certain tender-hearted persons, who warmly object aifitinst (he very idea of sitting in judgement on the memory ol the departed, but who can yet very readily assist iu mur. eiing the reputation of the living. The fact is, that we arc willing to acknowledge agreeable qualities which no longer stand in the way of our own claims upon admiration; and we can with much good nature, throw a veil of oblivion over faults, the exposure of which would not in any degree serve to promote our interest, even by the implied contrast of our own virtues.

Hut whence does this tenderness towards the fame of the dead take its rise? Is it from a solemn reverence for the awiul tribunal to whose judgement their frailties are then committed? or from a fine and indefinable feeling that would not seem to take advantage of the absence of the departed? Or is it from that indifference to virtue, abstractedly considered, •which renders vice a subject of reprobation only so far as the interests of those within its reach may be affected by its influence? Even on this paltry and sordid consideration, the volume before us might safely assert its claim to notice, though its own merits would afford it a more solid and advantageous foundation. The interests of the living are in many instances closely connected with the just censure of the dead. There are persons who have dazzled the world by the splendour oi their attainments, but who have wrung, by ingratitude and neglect, the hearts with which their own ought to have beat iu unison. When the errors of such persons, and the sources of those errors, are pointed out, as in the present instance, not with malevolence or treachery, but in the serious tone of exhortation, and with deep regret for their consequences, surely we ought not to forego the investigation of them, from the fear that we may find ourselves compelled to condemn where we would rather admire and venerate. Of all the social ties, those of conjugal love are the most important, the most delightful, the most holy; and when those ties are violently rent asunder, they are the virtuous who suffer acutely, and whose hearts are broken:—the vicious triumph, reckless of the misery they have occasioned.

That Lord Nelson, in consequence of his acquaintance with Lady Hamilton, subjected himself to the imputation of having practised this species of cruelty, cannot be denied; and those who deprecate the exposure of the disgraceful consequences depicted in the pages before us, might with equal reason censure certain ancient writers, for their 'malignity' in informing us that Mark Anthony was deceived, betrayed, and ruined by the wiles of Cleopatra. But, though we are unwilling to load feminine weakness with the heaviest condemnation, we cannot avoid thinking the unsuspecting warmth of heart which falls into the snare laid for it, far less criminal, than the cold-blooded vanity which deliberately spreads the net, and can anticipate with savage delight, the tears which will be shed by the innocent upon the capture of the victim. How far Lady Hamilton comes under this censure, it remains for us to examine.

The contemplation of Lady H.'s character and conduct, will forcibly exhibit how much the unbounded love of admiration is at variance with all that is worthy of being admired; and how incessantly it seeks for gratification at the expense of that modesty and simplicity, which give to either personal or intellectual graces their most attractive charm.

Mrs. Hannah More has justly remarked, that' If the educa'tion of women formerly resembled that of a confectioner, it 'is now too much like that of an actress.' The subject of these Memoirs is a striking example, that accomplishments which are acquired almost entirely for the sake of popular admiration, are very much at variance with the unassuming virtues of private life. The bloom of Lady Hamilton's life was passed in servitude, chiefly among fashionable families in London. Her biographer informs us, that ' To a figure of 'uncommon elegance, were added features perfectly regular, 'with a countenance of such indescribable sweetness of ex'pression, as fixed the beholder in admiration. The airiness 'of her form gave a peculiar grace to her movements, and 'such was the flexibility of her limbs, that she might have 'been considered as a mountain nymph.' To these attractions were added a musical voice, a fine ear, a retentive memory, a turn for mimickry, and a passion for theatrical entertainments, which unfortunately for herself, she had frequent opportunities of indulging.

When we consider what are the manners of servants in fashionable families, and the examples set them by their superiors, we must in candour acknowledge, that the youthful Emma, profusely endowed with personal graces and mental readiness, but totally uninstructed in religious principles or moral propriety, was placed in a situation of no common, danger; when, therefore, we say that she soon became vain, bold, and licentious, we merely state the almost unavoidable consequences of the situation into which she was thrown. We will not follow her through those gradations from guilty splendour down to the sad state of unpitied misery, by which a life of meretricious notoriety is invariably marked. Necessity and despair compelled her to undergo degradations, which in themselves must be deemed justly merited punishment for the misconduct which reduced her to them. The painter and the sculptor profited by her necessities, to improve their art, by contemplating that beauty which, thus exposed, could no longer retain a charm for those who justly estimate purity of soul; and the sighs which her wounded modesty heaved, expired unheard, while her vanity listened with delight to the plaudits of admiration.

Among those persons who were most lavish in the language of adulation, and perhaps the sincerest in the feelings which dictated it, was Romney the painter, who at different times exhibited to the public the features of his favourite model, in the character of a Circe with her magic wand, a Calypso, a Magdalen, a wood nymph, a Bacchante, the Pythian priestess on her tripod, a Saint Cecilia, and as a personification of Sensibility. Our Author reprobates in terms of virtuous indignation, the attempt on the part of Mr. Hayley, to throw a veil of sentimental delicacy over Romney's attachment to the subject of these Memoirs. The biographer of Cowper, appears indeed but ill employed in eulogizing the fine feelings and the social affections of a libertine. Romney was more true to nature in depicting Lady Hamilton in the character of Circe, than under the personification of Sensibility. When we recollect that she could voluntarily and carelessly forego the caresses of her own children, we cannot look with much delight upon her nursing the sensitive plant, though any incongruity between the sign and the thing signified, could not be expected to present itself to Romney, who, we are told by

« ForrigeFortsett »